There are so many layers to this question, and after the year we had, I hope that your answer is “yes”.
“Are you giving back?” is a loaded question. I think we all are in some way, so the question is, are you intentionally giving back? Is it a way of life? How do we make it a way of life? If you intentionally give back every day it transforms from intentional to unintentional, habit forming, and becomes a part of you, often when that happens, we look for the next way to give back. No one is immune from this, the positive exponential growth from this practice just can not be measured.
The issue, is not what to give or how to give but to just give something. Lets make it simple; there are people who do not have what you have, regardless of who you are.
Talent, money, success, experience, family, shelter, material things, food, clothing, health, toys, time, compassion, strength etc.
I personally do not think that there is anyone who can not give something. Start with a random kind hello to someone (it used to be a random smile, but our smile is covered now)
My mission today is to make sure I give something to someone in need. My first action is sharing my words here in hopes that someone else shares too.
I was on the phone today with a vendor partner (Hi Melissa). We were experiencing some minor issues, issues that were not damaging to our relationship, but could be if they escalated. I really like the vendor and they to great work, this was abnormal for them, so we talked – we had a Healthy Conversation.
During the call we all realized how grateful we were that we could address issues proactively and get in front of them. It was comforting. I care about our relationship and the people I work with – I want to address issues when they are still small so they stay that way.
It is really the same in my ‘real’ and not ‘work’ life. Too often we ignore the little things but we continue to hold on to them and then they become big things. It is just not the way I want to go through this journey. I do not want small issues to pile up and become unmanageable issues.
We have been living through a very challenging time and are faced with real challenges everyday. It is a good day when I do not make any more challenges for myself or others. Like the saying goes – “don’t sweat the small stuff”.
So have those Healthy Conversations – you will be happy you did.
“It is clear the future holds opportunities—it also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to seize the opportunities, avoid the pitfalls, and get back home by 6:00.“
I read this today – I loved it! I do not have much to say on it, other than do not take it all too seriously.
Glass is solid, it is clean and clear and has a sense of beauty, but take a 12 x 12 sheet of glass and smash it (not really – figuratively) and it is broken never the same and likely lost all of its physical values. Our reaction is to then stress on the broken glass – clean it up so it does not do any more damage. “Clear the room, everyone out!” – “Get your shoes on!” – “Where are the animals? don’t let them in the kitchen!”
When glass breaks we panic. It never breaks the same way and we never react the same way. Glass is so fragile that almost anything can destroy it, and we will always react with anxiety and excitement.
By contrast, leather is soft, tough and resilient. Take that same 12 x 12 piece of leather and smash it 100 times and it absorbs the blow, it adapts and softens. The surprise ‘smashing’ does not bother it. In turn we do not panic and make everyone around us panic.
On a daily basis we have curves thrown at us, many that could create panic. We are not in control of the obstacles that come our way. We are in control of how we absorb the curves. Do you panic or do you react and get better at taking the blows?
Professionally I rely upon many people to get my job done and ‘things’ happen. Many out of our control. If I panic, they just get worse. If I absorb it, react, learn and proceed it gets better.
A mentor I had early in my career used to have these letters on her desk
Stop – Think – Don’t – React – Think – React it was explained this way:
When there is an obstacle you are facing STOP (don’t do anything) THINK (what are the options?) DON’T REACT (often the first reaction is the panic reaction and not always the best one) THINK (again) REACT
Be like leather and get stronger daily
Just putting it out there – It has been a bit more than a year since I started sharing my thoughts, ideas, rants and hopes with the world, or at least with the few dozen (maybe 100) who read them.
I started on this journey as an exploration of what motivates me, and to share it. What is important to me, and to share it. What I (think) I am about and, to share it. Hoping it does the same for one or more of you. Some of you have shared it too!
A year in, and I am still exploring, which we all should be doing. I am not trying to reinvent myself as much as I am making sure as the world around us reinvents itself, which it has been in 2020, I am not only adapting to the change but I am staying authentic to who I am.
I have some general ideas of how I can make sure I am staying true and they are challenged everyday.
I try to focus on what I can control.
I try not to control much.
I work to recover from adversity – personal and professional.
I am true to my word (I hope)
There are plenty of other bullet points of how I stay true to myself, many I have not figured out yet. I think I will keep this up for another year to see what they are.
What I think we all need to do is to share our goals with each other, be vulnerable about your thoughts, lets learn and grow together.
What I know is that I don’t know who I am yet and I am a work in progress.
AKA: My Mask Post – not about physical PPE but about mental PPE
I recently listened to an podcast in which an old friend spoke of how she felt during middle school and high school years, and how she was able to blossom once she felt ‘recognized’ and found her people. I am one of those people she found and recognized her. I do not think she knows she helped me as much as I may have helped her. I think that as much was done for me as was done for her. I too was recognized and found my people. It helped me to shed my mask. This was possibly the first time I found my authentic self and luckily it was a planned accident.
Today some 40 years later, I do not wear a mask, (well today in pandemic 2020 I do), however the figurative mask is gone. I do play different roles through my day and and often have to pivot from role to role in a second. Often stepping into different shoes for each role. I happen to have a huge shoe collection). There is a big difference though in my actions of today vs. 40 years ago.
Today, I get to do this with authenticity. I have figured out who I am and I try to stay consistent to myself. It is not easy but I do it. I need to thank Alisa Cohn for her podcast interview for helping me to remember that we all are a bit lost.
Here is the important part, I know that I am still growing and evolving, I know that we all still have work to do on ourselves and I know that my mask still is in my back pocket. I just do not need to put it on as much.
I like knowing that I need to still grow and I like knowing that I have the comfort that I still can wear my mask. The big benefit is that I can learn from every experience I have to grow a bit more. I am striving to be my authentic self. It is not easy.
So, what is the take away of my rambling?
- Try to figure out when you learned ‘who’ you are and follow your own growth.
- Do not shed who you were, even if you did not like yourself, it is part of what made you.
- Are you authentic every day?
- Are you (am I?) willing to grow and change?
- Be kind to others along the way.
- Recognize that we are always growing and may, at times, need our masks. However, also recognize when you need it and learn from it.
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable it is how we grow.
- And WEAR YOUR FACE MASK! It is 2020 and you need it to take care of others around you.
I recently read that if you are going in neutral you are actually going down hill. It makes complete sense to me. If I am just coasting I am not growing. Life is full of ups and downs and we all experience them personally and professionally.
Given the current situation we are all living with, if we all make a bit more of an attempt to be better than fine we will lift each other. If you are feeling just fine, what little thing can you do to be better than fine?
Let’s all try each day to do something better than fine!
It is pretty simple – there is so much noise lately and it is hard not to hear it all. What are you doing with what you hear?
It is also hard not to make your own noise. The question for me is if my noise is helpful and coming from the heart, or just noise. How do I express my disgust for how we are treating each other and still treat others well? Not always easy.
I believe in noise that makes a difference, and I believe in positive non- violent protest, I believe in being kind, I believe in communication.
We have to be careful with our words and actions. Are they coming from the heart or are they meant to hurt? Are we acting out of a reflex? Is that reflex a thoughtful one or is it a first reaction? Does your first reaction create other reactions that are not healthy?
I feel that we are seeing too many gut reactions that are spinning out of control – we are not hearing in our heart. Please think about how you hear (it is not easy) and if we all take a moment to adjust and help be part of the solution we will all be heading in a better direction.
A friend of mine once said to me – If you can’t Help someone don’t Hurt them. Pretty simple, right?
There is no time better to practice optimism and kindness. We all know we are experiencing something that is unprecedented. I like to think that we are doing our best to get through this as a society. However that does not mean I am happy with what is going on. I am happy that we are working together to keep everyone healthy and safe – both at home and at work. In fact, in many ways my job has become essential and I am seeing how companies are caring for employees.
There is plenty I miss and one of the things I really miss is a kind nod or hello from a stranger. That smile you give (or get) when you are on an elevator with others, or when someone smiles because you held a door open. Trust me they are there still. I know we are worried and there is plenty of concern. There is also room for optimism for how we will interact when this is all over. I hope we will be more understanding and kinder. I think we will. I hope we will smile more so people can see you smile.
So, in case you were wondering, and in case I run into you soon, yes, I am smiling at you under my mask.
Oh and thank you Jordana my eternal optimist for the theme —
This poem was written in 1869, reprinted during 1919 Pandemic. It is timeless and timely!
And people stayed at home
And read books
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.
Reprinted during Spanish flu